Let’s Ban Celebrities From Military Balls


In my view you’ve got to be one lucky servicemember if you can not only get the attention of your celebrity of choice but also convince that person to attend a military ball with you.

Then again I’m an Army spouse. Sure our events have traditions that go along with them, but as far as I can tell there’s nothing involved that I’m supposed to get overly excited about.

Then there is the Marine Corps. Their birthday ball is a Big Deal, I mean a really Big Deal. First, it is steeped in very solemn tradition aimed at honoring fallen Marines. But there’s a little bit more to it than that in my view. Like I’ve written in the past, they have cake. And amazing uniforms. And they get celebrities to come to their ball – lots of celebrities.

But now that the birthday ball season is slowly winding down with another set of celebrity appearances at Birthday Balls behind us (most recently Kim Kardashian), it seems that not everyone thinks celebrities at balls is a good idea.

Now, in my non-Marine-spouse view, celebrities at balls just make them that much more interesting and fun. Plus you’ve got to be a pretty supportive celebrity to go to a ball with a desperate young Marine you’ve never met.

But I ran across a post late last week on this blog’s Facebook page that pointed out that celebrities at balls take away from the solemnity of the event. Here is what the blog’s owner, Kristine, told us:

When a celebrity is invited to the event, it turns into a spectacle about the person in attendance, not focusing on remembering those who gave their lives and honoring the sacrifices made of those before us. The ball ceremony is never about spouses, girlfriends or anything else. It’s about honoring the Corps.

She has a point there.

It turns out that this isn’t the first time this issue has been brought up (just the first time I’ve noticed it) – a recent Marine Corps Times story talked about the disapproving emails the Marine who took Mila Kunis to the ball received from other Marines, including some who out ranked him. They thought, he said, that having a celebrity made the ball a red carpet event.

Kristine said she doesn’t think the Corps should outright ban celebrity invites to balls. Like she says, the military already tells us what to do with so much of our lives, do we really need another rule? But several commenters on the Facebook page said it should be banned – they said a celebrity appearance takes away from the seriousness of the ball.

So what do you think? Does the presence of a Kardashian take away from importance and traditions of ball? Or are we all over thinking this?

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

42 Comments on "Let’s Ban Celebrities From Military Balls"

  1. Ban them. Unless they are truly a military spouse, or engaged to a military member, they should stay home. Let the focus of the ball be on the military and its traditions, not some flash in the pan celebrity.

  2. It wouldn't be Monday morning if the milspouse arena didn't have their collective panties in a bunch over something to do with military balls.

  3. After last year's balls that included 2 celebrities I did not see photos that were from the papparazzi, so I am assuming that reporters and photographers were not given access to the inside of the balls to be a distrubance to the ceremonies. Since the Marine Corps appeared to not allow the presence of celebrities to become a media circus, I do not see an issue with celebrity attendance. It's currently a fad that will die down, in fact, I'm suprised that it occurred this year. If a celebrity wants to attend and is willing to observe proper respect for the traditions of the event, then who cares if they are there. To me they are people just like anyone else and I'm sure most people attending the ball treated them like any other guest.

  4. Balls are managed at the local unit level, even tho there are very strict guidelines on procedure (ex being the diagram for the KIA/POW/MIA table). It is up to the local command whether spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends – or celebrities – are invited or not. You may recall that one MCAS banned a pornographic actress from accompnying a Marine to his unit Ball in recent years.
    With that said, my feelings are that every civilian should get a chance to observe or participate in some military tradition. We hold observances for various military events at a local pub, and the non-veteran patrons are always excited about attending. However, if the spectacle outweighs the observance, then it is up to that unit to police their own event.

  5. I say "who cares" but its the duty of everyone there to make sure it keeps up with the reason for the event and not whose attending. A ball I recently attended had a celebrity guest speaker…. so whats the difference? They still get attention, just in a different light. I think it's nice to let people outside the military community experience something they probably know nothing about. Just recently at those man awards they had a bunch of military personnel in the audience. Should they be banned from a non-military function wearing dress uniforms? I think not…. Maybe just ban the Kardashians….lol. ~An Army Wife, Daughter and Supporter

  6. While the USMC Birthday Ball is to honor those who served in the past and present, the right type of celebrity could bring energy to this important tradition. However, having someone who has made a name as a celebrity in part by failing to obtain a divorce before going into another 'romantic' relationship speaks to the problem of ethics that is now such a big issue in the military.

    Yes, I have enjoyed every Birthday Ball or celebration that I have attended as a member of the Corps but I always made sure that any guest of mine (boyfriend or spouse) was firmly aware of the reason our attendance and that he was also aware of the conduct expectations, both mine and the Corps.

  7. The Marine Corps Birthday Ball should be celebrated by the Corps for the Corps and only those who have earned the right to wear the uniform and their spouses or dates and should be instructed on the scope and purpose of the celebration and all the traditions that are embodied in it.

  8. MARINE Corps Ball IS A Red Carpet Event For every one attending. To be Any part of Our Ball is aThrill. A celebrity that is asked to attend should be Thrillednot just any on asked. Now with that said The celebrity need to understand what they are being asked to take part of. I have been to several MARINE Balls And Many MARINE Reunions, We are a Breed of our own, We ARE The Best… Signed GREASYNICK USMC 1969-1973 , VMFA 451 1971-1972

  9. LOL! I knew that someone(a military spouse) was going to have a issue with Kim K attending. usually when a celeb or someone popular attends anything, it brings awareness to the event. If they change the entire event to accommodate celebs, then there’s a problem. Them being in attendance shows how important the balls are from a civilian perspective. After all the Marines do for this country, we’re going to tell them they can’t have celebs at the ball? At the end of the day celebs are US citizens supporting our soldiers, being present when they’re requested is the least they can do.

  10. They should be BANED! absolutely. THEY HAVE NO BUSINESS AT THE BALL. Military spouses are not attending their Oscar event since we are not actresses.

  11. Bill USMC 1/5 67&68 | November 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

    The Marine Corps Birthday Ball is one of the most important dates in the Corps history, Tuns Tavern 1775, the birth place of the Marine Corps, 237 years and counting. I have yet to see any military base without a movie theater, even in combat zones if at all possible there is some sort of jerry rigged reel to reel flick to pick up the troops moral. Celebs contribute to our military through USO Shows and special appearances for many different occasions. I say, keep putting those smiles on our True American Heroes faces by backing our service members any way and every way you can, HURRAY TO THE CELEBS!!!! Every Marine knows the importance of the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, and to all those Fallen, Past, Present, and Future Comrades In Arms. Welcome Celebs, being invited to the USMC Ball is an honor, and it is an honor to have you there. Thank you for your support to our men and women in uniform.

  12. Dave, QM3 USNR | November 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

    I think it depends on the understanding by the Celebrity of the meaning of a celebration. So long as he/she is mindful of the tribute celebration, it's fine. When the celeb is the focus of the event, it might be better if they did not attend. In this case, Semper Fi is important. Sent with the utmost respect from this gratefull swabbie.

  13. DEFINITELY over-thinking it, although it should be quietly discouraged, so that we don’t become pawns of attention-seeking celebrities.

  14. Honestly I agree with the blog post but then again as long as the celeb doesn’t try and make the event about them why does it matter? Your completely over thinking it.

  15. If your worried about honoring veterans, what about schools that do not take veterans day off, instead they say they will give the kids another day off at a later time? How does that honor veterans? Or they have an hour or two presentation, but what does that show them about veterans?
    This continual eroding of values in America is leading to the end of America as we know it. The issue of celebrities is minor if their is no veterans day left to celebrate. Maybe it is time to establish a few national holidays and make it illegal for any person to work, except for businesses concerned with the well being of the people, such as hospitals, police, fire, and other necessary services.

  16. How about letting the ones that actually support the military to their annual service balls? Gary Sinise, Drew Carey, Toby Kieth, and others could go no problem. But the Karcrapians, NO, the stupid whore needs to stay home.

  17. Would anyone have banned Bob Hope? Now there was a celebrity who cared about the military. Banning celebrities is a bad idea. I think the military as a community needs to embrace them. Celebrities get the attention of the nation for doing just about anything, good or bad. When they know more about the military they can bring that knowledge to the public.

  18. We need to keep celebs away from our balls

  19. Only invite someone who has acheived something besides getting married and divorced all the time and is rich and talked about in gossip newspapers all the time.

  20. Seriously? You want to ban Americans from attending a function they are invited to? So, if you're spouse is a celebrity, they can't come? (Don't say that's different) Are you trying to get popular by saying outrageous things? That's what it sounds like. I wouldn't invite Kim K. to do my laundry, but, I respect the decision of other people to live their lives without putting my judgment before theirs. Shame for even asking the question. Try serving your country before you try running it. Narrow minded bigotry is all this article represents. Embarassing that it was published.

  21. If this is all you have to argue about with the nation in the state it is ,someonbe is not dping there job!!
    some of the people you are refering to are X military,and as long as the idiots trying to take pic's for moneyh can't get to the event really who cares.. I think someone got shot down by one of the celiberties so they are mad and throwing a fit…..Go cry some where else

  22. Celebrities shouldn't be allowed to come to these balls. A lot of them do it for publicity anyways. More importantly it's a privilege to be in the Military. The same way that we aren't invited to the celebrity parties and shingdings of Hollywood because we aren't privileged celebrities they shouldn't be coming to ours.

  23. Some Celebs have done so much for our Military that they should be invited to attend. Who would deny Gary Sinise or Fath Hill the opportunity to attend? They have devoted untold hours to supporting our Military, just to name two.
    If they conduct themselved in the respectful manner the occasion warrents then what's the harm?

  24. Amy Bushatz, are you kidding?? Do you mean to tell me just because a celebrity draws attention to themselves at a military function that celebrities should be banned? Get over yourself! Celebrities bring A LOT of notoriety to the Corps and having a celebrity supporting troops validates to the public at large, that supporting them is a GOOD thing. What a stupid question but I guess military spouses have nothing better to do than talk sh*t all day about non-essential BS! Gives em somethin to do besides eating Bon Bon’s and watching Soaps!

  25. ANYTHING which promotes POSITIVE media attention to our military is A-OK by me, especially now that our young people are being socially-engineered to disapprove of ANYTHING military, period.

  26. Gunny Canine | November 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm |

    The Marines who disapproved of Mila Kunis being at the ball were probably jealous as hell.


  28. Leave it to the Marines to turn a simple military birthday ball into a MAJOR source of drama. Its like all the battles they fought were they ONLY ones that were the hardest, most difficult and seemingly insurmountable. You dont see Soldiers running around trying to get the limelight on them via celebrity dates. Its always the Marines…

    Yeah, thats right, I said it!

  29. Yes please ban them. Its ridiculous and if a Marine from my unit invited a celebrity then I would not attend the ball. Go on google images right now and search for Marine Corps Ball. 90 percent of the pictures will be of celebrities not of Marines in their dress blues enjoying the ball. I think it’s a disgrace, it does take away from the entire event. Half off the attendees at the balls I go to are civilian contractors and civilian contributors. Even though most of their contributions pay for the Marine Corps Ball I really dont like sharing it with them being that they are not Marines. But I understand it is a necessary 2 keep the price of tickets for the ball low enough that we can afford them. If Marines want to be gungho for all this media attention then we’re really no better than the Army.

  30. Marine Vet 1969-1973 | November 22, 2012 at 10:39 am |

    I know Ann Margeret has been to Marine Birthday Balls and all over Vietnam entertauining the troops.
    She will stop at anytime to sign autograph or take a photo with a service member. She still calls a Vietnam Vet "One of my Boys" She is respectfull and reverent at the Balls and I do not think there is any photo's out there that shows her at any of the events.
    Guest are invited and they can be Un-envited if need be if proper respect is not shown.

  31. 'BALLS,' said the Queen…if I had TWO, I'd be KING!

    This is probably THE single-most ridiculous subject/discussion I've yet read on any of these military 'blogs.' For anyone even remotely 'attached' to the proud USMC (I was Navy during 'nam but my Father, RIP, was a 27 year, four-war Master Gunny) to even THINK of banning ANYONE from the event in question is pathetic. I'm assuming that all you Jarheads fought your wars, or will fight your future wars, for FREEDOM…yet some of you would choose to take some of the freedoms you fought for away from even some of your own. Dad would have NEVER voted to ban ANYONE.

    What ever happened re: the young Marine who invited his Commander in Chief's wife Michelle Obama to his MC Ball? Did that ever happen?

  32. Jealousy, simple explanation. Spouses are jealous that they get to primp up once every year and attention goes to a celebrity invited by somebody lower ranked than their spouses'. It shouldn't be about spouses either, it should be about why they're holding a ball.


  34. If they are wearing nice clothes and want to give them to me later, then I say let celebrities attend.

  35. So we’ve stopped taking responsibility for our actions? When did that happen? As long as the celebrity in question is W-E-L-L aware of what they are walking into (the inviter’s job) the event shouldn’t be able to turn away from the focus(everyone’s job, don’t stare, get pictures later). In the biz it’s called “Talent Wrangling” and “Directing”, in the Corps it’s called “Discipline”.

  36. Celebrities have a LOT of balls !!!!!!???!!!!

  37. Celebrities are American citizens with rights; they have relatives or loved ones that served.
    Who are we to pick and choose who can attend a function paid for by the American taxpayer?

  38. This sounds like a lot of women feeling all sad or upset because no one cares that they are at the ball. I'm a service member and can careless if a soldier decides he/she wants to bring an celebrity. I think this question is sad and all thats in favor of a celebrity not attending should be ashame. I even see where someone said on a spouse should be allowed to come. Well how about not requiring single soldiers to go to the ball. Relax and get a life. Your spouse is going home with you at the end of the night and if not they are I can bet 10 out of 10 times they wont be going home with a celebrity that showed up with someone else. Just funny and I cant believe you guys lol

  39. Yes, bann the celebrity appearances. They have no commonality to the honor nor to the event by any means.

  40. It sounds so American to ban an American (or anyone else) from the birthday ball.

  41. Walter D. Adams | November 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

    The Marine Corps Ball should not have celebrities attending them. Unless your a Marine, a Marine spouse or significant other then you shouldn't attend. The Marine Corps is for a few and the Proud and if you would like to share that title or attend a Marine Corps Birthday Ball then you should join the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps Birthday Ball is for those who attended the weeks long boot camp in either MCRD San Diego or MCRD Parris Island and those who chose to have one of those Devil Dogs (Male or Females) as their spouse. Think about it, how many celebrities invite Marines or other service members to their events which occur more than once a year. They have their events and we have ours, lets enjoy ours by ourselves and let them read about it on social networks as we have to do to know about theirs. Semper Fi, LCPL W.D. Adams 86-92

  42. There's a give and take with this. First, you have the fact that being a celebrity is an occupation– they earn their money by being that popular, and it's an unjust discrimination to ban a guest based on that alone. On the other hand, the nature of that very occupation is that any celebrity can– and often enough, will– make every appearance outside their house a publicity event. Even if they do not, their agent might do it for them. THAT is a disrespect– a military ball is an event guests are privileged to attend, not just another place to do their job as a celebrity. It's the equivalent of a salesman walking in on the arm of his/her spouse and pitching a deal to everyone in the room. Second, though… just as a celebrity may use a ball to their advantage, the military may use the celebrity to its advantage, drawing in publicity to a controlled, otherwise-closed event that could be good for military and public morale, etc. What else is Public Affairs for? But it's tricky to handle the press, VERY tricky to handle celebrities, and that's a risk assessment for someone better trained than me. …It probably also depends a great deal on the celebrity, I mean, would we have a problem if this were Harrison Ford..?

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